Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Tennessean,
The question now for the Predators — as the unrestricted free-agency period enters its second day — is whether players outside the organization will be willing to take a leap of faith as well.
Predators Coach Barry Trotz said he doesn’t think it’s so far-fetched to think some free agents would sign a multi-year deal here despite the uncertainty of the future.
“If you look at not the business part, but the hockey part, we are very appealing to a lot of free agents,’’ Trotz said. “We have a great city in terms of where to live; we have a great hockey team; and there are a lot of things we do right here.’‘
From The Tennessean,
Jed Ortmeyer, a 6-foot, 197-pound forward with the New York Rangers last year, has agreed to a two-year contract with the Predators.
The deal is worth $750,000 each season.
Ortmeyer had two goals and nine assists in 41 games last season.
The Nashville Predators announced Saturday that the club has agreed to terms with centre Scott Nichol on a two-year contract and with defenceman Alex Henry on a one-year contract.
Nichol, 32, appeared in 59 games with Nashville this past season, notching 13 points, 79 penalty minutes and a +7 rating.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
Once it became apparent that Balsillie’s hugely inflated purchase price (one that apparently included sending some $18 million that could reasonably be assumed to be Leipold’s cut of an upcoming expansion pie, wasn’t going to be enough to convince Bettman to roll over and allow Balsillie to put the team where he wanted, who is ultimately responsible for the decisions that may well have gutted the franchise?
Add to that, what does it mean for the future sale of the team?
It is fair to say that an NHL team without Forsberg, Kariya, Timonen, Hartnell and Vokoun simply is not as desirable a property as a team with them, but does that hold true if you’re eventually looking to keep fans in Nashville from buying in excess of 14,000 season tickets next season? Clearly if you want out of Nashville, you don’t want the fans to embrace your team.
from the Daily Press,
Sullivan racked up 22 goals and 38 assists in just 57 games this past season. He will have to wait until next season to hit the ice again.
In order to get there, however, he will need to strengthen his back. The Timmins native is undergoing rehab with a back specialist in Vancouver. Each session includes 45 minutes to an hour of manipulating back muscles, followed by an hour to an hour and a half of strengthening them in the gym, Sullivan said.
“It’s a process that I need to go through to heal,” he said. “Last year was last year. There’s a lot of time from then until the middle of September when camp starts, so we’re not too worried about that.” The injury, nor the topic of the possible sale of the Predators, has swayed Sullivan much about his vision of returning to form next season.
from the National Post,
Gary Bettman, for all our jeers, is no fool. We all loathe him for giving up on Winnipeg and Quebec City, but he fought like a mother bear to protect the six remaining Canadian franchises, bending league rules to permit Edmonton and Calgary to adopt distributed-ownership structures….
In expecting him to give up on the growth of the game in the U.S. and start repatriating NHL franchises to Canada willy-nilly, we’re asking him to abandon a plan that has worked out just fine by the only measure that matters to him—the owners’ bottom line. Even after deliberately turning down the high bid for his asset, Leipold is likely to end up earning about 9% per year in nominal dollars on his original US$80-million investment in the Predators. That’s what we call a satisfied customer.
added 8:45am, from the National Post,
The National Hockey League was prepared to deliver a team to William (Boots) Del Biaggio and Kansas City’s Sprint Center as part of a plan to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh, sources told the National Post yesterday.
Sources said the league, which didn’t want to lose a value market in Pittsburgh, asked the Kansas City investors to back off their chase of the Penguins while indicating to the group it would be next in line for an NHL franchise.
from Mike Zeisberger at the Toronto Sun,
Come on. Kansas City?
When will commissioner Gary Bettman and his colleagues finally stop this pipe dream of shoehorning the NHL into each nook and cranny of the U.S.?
Hockey is a niche sport in many pockets south of the border. Many Americans just don’t care about it.
Phoenix. Florida. Nashville ... the list goes on concerning struggling, non-traditional hockey markets there.
Perhaps this is all about the all-mighty dollar and the NHL’s tangled web of bureaucracy but Mr. Bettman should remember one thing.
More than 14,000 season tickets were sold in Hamilton in two days.
If you read Spector today, you know he received a heads-up on Peter Forsberg undergoing surgery. Here is a bit more from the Denver Post…
Peter Forsberg’s hockey future once again is under a cloud of uncertainty as the former Avalanche star is scheduled to undergo surgery today on his troublesome right ankle, two sources close to the player confirmed.
Forsberg was scheduled to have his right ankle operated on at a hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, near his hometown of Ornskoldsvik.
Forsberg, 33, must be inactive after the surgery for several weeks, casting doubt on whether he’ll be ready to play at the start of the coming NHL season.
Yes hockey fans, the Nashville situation is getting more frustrating by the day…
Bob McKenzie from TSN gives us some insight…
As it relates to Craig Leipold: In my estimation, Leipold wasn’t coerced by the league into potentially taking a lesser offer, he did so because he’s a practical man. And if Leipold knew anything, he knew that Balsillie was never going to be approved by the league as the owner of the Predators. Not now. Not ever.
It wasn’t always that way. I believe Leipold thought at the outset of his dealings with Balsillie it was possible for Balsillie and the league to find some common ground, but that quickly evaporated when it seemed every move made by Balsillie was an affront to the way the league does business. Leipold said as much in his correspondence to the league last week, when he said, he was “unaware” of Balsillie’s singular determination to take the franchise to Hamilton.
from Theresa Tedesco And Matthew Sekeres of the National Post,
According to sources familiar with the events, Craig Leipold, owner of the Predators, informed Mr. Balsillie late Monday—less than a week before their deal was to close on June 30—that he has decided to walk away from the US$238-million offer announced last month. Instead, he plans to pursue a less lucrative bid from California businessman William “Boots” DelBiaggio. It is widely expected that Mr. DelBiaggio will relocate the Predators to Kansas City once Nashville’s lease at the Sommet Center arena expires.
added 10:41am, from the Globe and Mail,
A source familiar with the negotiations confirmed that Predators owner Craig Leopold has told Balsillie’s lawyers that he is considering a bid from William “Boots” Del Biaggio, unless Balsillie meets new conditions.
Mr. Del Biaggio is reported to have offered less than $190-million (US) for the team, compared to Mr. Balsillie’s $240-million offer.
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